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5 signs of kidney diseases you should not ignore

Published on:28 August 2021, 12:00pm IST
Your kidneys have a lot of functions, and not being careful about its health can lead to complications. Pay attention to these signs of kidney problems that your body may be giving you!
Aayushi Gupta
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signs of poor kidney health
Kidney problems can be harder to detect. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Your kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage, one on each side. Roughly the size of a fist, your kidneys serve many critical bodily functions. But did you know that a large number of the population is living with kidney diseases and most don’t even know it? 

Unfortunately, kidney disease is progressive! Dr. Mahesh Prasad, consultant Nephrologist, from Wockhardt Hospitals, says, “Chronic kidney disease is commonly seen in people having diabetes, hypertension, or family history of kidney diseases”. The other risk factors, the expert points out, are being older, having low birth weight, using certain medications for a longer time, chronic urinary tract infections, obesity, and even kidney stones.

But how will you find out if you have any kidney issues? Well, Dr Prasad has revealed certain signs and symptoms which can indicate chances that you may be suffering from kidney diseases!

Here are the signs and symptoms of hidden kidney problems
1. Sleep problems

Insomnia or poor sleep is common in people with kidney problems. Dr Prasad explains, “When the kidneys aren’t filtering properly, toxins tend to stay in the blood rather than leaving the body via the urine. This can make it difficult to sleep.” Also, sleep apnea is commonly seen in those with chronic kidney disease, when compared to the general population.

signs of poor kidney health
Sleep is of great importance, especially when it comes to your mental well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Skin problems

Healthy kidneys do many important jobs. If you are facing any issues with your skin, it can be an indication of any kidney disease. Dr Prasad suggests, “Dry and itchy skin can indicate mineral and bone disease that is also tied to advanced kidney disease when the kidneys cannot strike a proper balance of minerals and nutrients that are there in the blood.” So, you tend to get dry and itchy skin.

3. Puffy eyes

Kidney disease can also cause periorbital edema, which involves swelling around the eyes. The puffiness around the eyes can be attributed to the leakage of a large amount of protein in the urine from the kidneys instead of keeping it in the body. The condition can develop in one or both eyes

4. Muscle cramping

Muscle cramps are common among those who have kidney diseases. Cramps are thought to be caused by imbalances in fluid and electrolytes, or by nerve damage or blood flow problems. This can be impaired kidney function, according to Dr Prasad. Low calcium levels and poorly controlled phosphorus also invite muscle cramping.

5. Swelling issues

Are you noticing swelling in your feet and ankle? If yes, then it might also be a sign of kidney disease. You may be advised to reduce your daily salt and fluid intake, including fluids in food such as soups and yogurts, to help reduce the swelling.

signs of poor kidney health
Decreased kidney function can lead to sodium retention, causing swelling in your feet and ankles. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When kidneys do not remove that extra fluid, it causes swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands. One tends to notice edema due to sodium retention, which causes swelling in your shin, legs, feet, and ankles, says Dr Prasad.

How changes in urination can be a symptom of kidney problems

Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. Frequent urge to urinate will indicate kidney problems. Are you constantly making trips to the bathroom? If your answer is and if you especially urinate more at night, this can indicate a kidney disease, shares Dr Prasad. This can happen as the kidneys’ filters may be damaged, causing an increase in the urge to urinate. In this case, you need to get yourself checked for any kidney issues.

Why kidney diseases affect appetite

Is your appetite poor? Well, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the progressive decline of the glomerular filtration rate in chronic kidney disease patients is associated with a significant reduction in food intake. Among the various symptoms of poor kidney health, poor appetite and weight loss are some of them.

signs of poor kidney health
Don’t ignore these signs of kidney problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Tips to keep kidneys healthy, according to Dr Prasad

Maintaining kidney health is important to your overall health and general well-being. To keep your kidneys in top shape, follow these tips:

  1. Stay physically active and exercise on a daily basis. But before initiating any fitness routine just speak to your doctor. 
  2. You can also practice yoga and meditation. 
  3. Don’t forget to maintain optimum weight, so eat a balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits, veggies, whole grain, pulses, and legumes.
What you should avoid:
  1. Stay away from junk, spicy, oily, and processed food. 
  2. Do not over hydrate yourself, as it can pressurise the kidneys. 
  3. Avoid alcohol and smoking. Smoking tends to destroy the blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood in the kidneys. When the kidneys fail to have adequate blood flow, they can’t function properly.
  4. Do not use any supplements without your doctor’s knowledge, as they can take a toll on your kidneys.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t stop yourself from getting examined and getting treated on time for your health’s sake.

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.